Tooth Sensitivity

  • By Chantal Duhaime
  • 16 May, 2017

What can I do if I have sensitive teeth? 

river rock dental hygiene, river rock barrie, dental hygiene barrie, barrie  dental hygiene, dental hygienist, teeth, teeth whitening, teeth cleaning, sensitive teeth
Picture this: A beautiful, hot, sunny day in Barrie. You are down by the waterfront with your friends when one of them suggests a sweet treat to cool off. Ice cream. 

Does that word make you cringe? Or the thought of drinking ice cold water? Okay. We'll stop! 

If it does, you are not alone! Many people suffer from dentinal hypsersensitivty (tooth sensitivity). This can be described as tooth pain or sensitivity to cold drinks, food or air.

Sensitivity to cold should not be confused with lingering pain or sensitivity to biting pressure, hot drinks or sweets. These conditions can be indicative of a worse condition and should be checked by your dental health care specialist right away. 

Some common causes of cold sensitivity are gum recession or thinning tooth enamel. When the root surface of the tooth is exposed due to gum recession it is not protected by the hard layer of enamel that the crown of our teeth are. This softer surface (called cementum) is full of microscopic tubules that send cold shocks (felt as pain) directly to the nerve of the tooth. Gum recession can be caused by poor oral hygiene or acute or chronic trauma to the teeth, such as clenching or grinding. Thinning of tooth enamel can be caused by wear and tear on the biting surfaces of the teeth or acid erosion. 

Management of dentinal hypersensitivity includes self-applied and professionally applied desensitizing agents. An example of a self-applied agent is a sensitivity toothpaste. Some popular brands are Sensodyne, Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief or Crest Pro-Health Sensitive & Enamel Shield Toothpaste. These toothpastes contain potassium nitrate and small doses of fluoride and should be used twice a day for at least two weeks for optimal results. These toothpastes are readily available at your local drugstore. A professional applied desensitizing agent is done in office by your Dental Hygienist and is a higher concentration of fluoride products. The most common application is a 5% sodium fluoride varnish. This application is quick, painless and effective! 

If you suffer from tooth sensitivity it is also important to monitor the amount of acidic and sugary fruits and beverages you consume. These foods may contribute to dentinal hypersentivity. It is also important to control the amount of plaque biofilm accumulating on your teeth by practicing effective oral hygiene (tooth brushing & flossing). 

Start with a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, but don't forget to visit your Dental Hygienist regularly to assess the cause of your cold sensitivity and determine if any other products might be right for you! 




river rock, river rock dental hygiene, barrie ontario, barrie, teeth cleaning, dental hygiene, dental hygienist, barrie dental hygiene, barrie dental hygienist

River Rock Dental Hygiene's Blog

By Chantal Duhaime 04 Jul, 2017
We all know that smoking is bad for you. It is drilled into our heads from the time we are children. But in the end, 15% of the Canadian population admits to smoking tobacco. Beside the negative effects smoking has on overall health, are you aware of the consequences in your mouth? 

For starters, smoking is a significant factor in gum disease. Smokers have an increased amount of tarter buildup, greater bone loss, deeper periodontal pockets and more tooth loss than nonsmokers. Gum disease tends to start earlier in smokers, progresses quicker, is harder to fight and is more likely to reoccur. 

Gum disease can be harder to spot in smokers. Smoking tends to mask the signs that are usually evident (the most notable being bleeding gums) because the tissues are more dense and fibrotic due to lack of blood flow and circulation. Your Dental Hygienist will probe the naturally occurring pockets around the teeth regularly to determine the depth of gum disease present and make the appropriate referrals or monitor any changes. 

Smoking will also cause tooth discolouration such as yellowing or staining caused by the chemicals in the tobacco. Bad breath is often associated with smokers and is caused by an overgrowth of bad bacteria which can cling to the gums and tongue.

Cigarettes are not the only form of tobacco use that can effect the oral cavity. Chewing tobacco, loose leaf tobacco and pipe smoking will also have serious health effects.

All forms of tobacco are associated with oral cancer.

Oral cancer is the most severe oral health implication of prolonged tobacco use. In the early stages most cancers show no symptoms. They can be difficult to diagnose even with routine exams and oral cancer screenings performed by your Dental Hygienist at each visit. Oral cancer most commonly starts on the lips, tongue or floor of the mouth and typically appears as a traumatic or infective lesion that does not show any signs of healing after a two week period. If you haven't been to your Dental Hygienist in a while, now would be a good time to book an appointment to get checked!

All of that being said, we know that quiting smoking is no easy task. Take it one day at a time. Rely on your doctor, family and friends as your network of support. There are also resources available to you by phone (1-8777-513-5333) or online at www.smokershelpline.ca . If you have more questions feel free to ask your dental health care team at your next continuing care appointment!



By Chantal Duhaime 01 Jun, 2017
Dry mouth, or xerostomia (pronounced zero-sto-me-ah) is a common condition that affects many people on a daily basis. The degree of dryness can vary and can include symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, chewing, digesting food, altered taste (or a metallic taste), halitosis (bad breath), constant thirst and small cuts in the mouth or on the lips that lead can to infection and pain. Many things can cause dry mouth, but the most commonly reported cause is medication induced xerostomia.

There are over 500 medications that may cause dry mouth! People who take more than one medication are at even greater risk. Some of these medications are common, such as anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, anti-hypertensives (blood pressure meds), antihistamines, muscle relaxants... and the list goes on... 

By Chantal Duhaime 23 May, 2017
The most common question I receive about why I opened my clinic is,

"Why would someone go to an Independent Dental Hygiene Clinic instead of a general dentist?" 

The answer I give varies because there is no straight answer. Seeking care at an Independent clinic like River Rock Dental Hygiene has many benefits and is a personal choice. I want to outline a few of those reasons and help to answer any questions you might have!

Let's start with the basics. 

What is a Registered Dental Hygienist? 

A Registered Dental Hygienist has many roles in the dental community, from scaling of teeth to applying fluoride, polishing teeth, desensitizing and placing pit and fissure sealants,educating patients on oral hygiene instruction, smoking cessation, dietary recommendations and their overall health. Your Dental Hygienist is the front line of care and can provide intra and extra oral assessments, periodontal assessments and oral cancer screenings (which are performed at each visit). Your Dental Hygienist is always evaluating your oral health and providing recommendations for areas of improvement and monitoring your progress in an attempt to achieve overall health. They work collaboratively with you and your other health care providers to ensure you are receiving proper care. 

Dental Hygienists receive post secondary education in microbiology, infection control, anatomy and physiology, nutrition and health, health promotion and disease prevention and so much more. They are licensed and regulated by their governing body, The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO) .  

What is an Independent Practice? 

Since 2007, Registered Dental Hygienists have been able to practice independently from dentists. This means that they can open and run clinics that provide only dental hygiene services.

The services that a Registered Dental Hygienist can provide in an independent clinic are the same services they can provide in a dental office. 

Why Choose an Independent Clinic? 

You have the right to choose your Dental Hygienist and Dentist separately. You are not limited to the dental staff at your dentist office to provide your oral health care. You may choose any Registered Dental Hygienist to do your teeth cleaning just the same as you may choose a specific dentist to fill your cavities. 

Independent Dental Hygiene offices follow a suggested fee guide set out by the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association ( CDHA )  which is typically 10%-30% less than the fee guide cost of a general dentists office . That's right, you can have the same oral health care services done for a fraction of the price. 

You can use your dental benefits at an Independent Dental Hygiene clinic! The process is the same as your dentists office. The claims are submitted electronically or by mail. Most insurance providers accept Independent Dental Hygienist codes.

No drills + No Needles = No anxiety. 

Many people suffer from dental anxiety due to past experiences in a dentist office. In Ontario, Independent Dental Hygiene clinics do not drill teeth or provide anesthetic by injection. This helps to limit the anxiety a patient my suffer which would prevent them from seeking our services. Our practice is designed to be relaxing and welcoming and we strive to provide quality and customized service. 

Since Registered Dental Hygienists are now able to practice independently, clinics are popping up all over. This is making important and affordable oral health care more conveniently located. This allows everyone access to the healthcare that they deserve. 

If you have been putting off going to the dentist for any of the above reasons, an Independent Dental Hygiene clinic may be the right choice for you! We are happy to answer any other questions that you may have about why you should choose independent practice. Or better yet, visit our office to see the difference for yourself!


By Chantal Duhaime 16 May, 2017
Picture this: A beautiful, hot, sunny day in Barrie. You are down by the waterfront with your friends when one of them suggests a sweet treat to cool off. Ice cream. 

Does that word make you cringe? Or the thought of drinking ice cold water? Okay. We'll stop! 

If it does, you are not alone! Many people suffer from dentinal hypsersensitivty (tooth sensitivity). This can be described as tooth pain or sensitivity to cold drinks, food or air.

Sensitivity to cold should not be confused with lingering pain or sensitivity to biting pressure, hot drinks or sweets. These conditions can be indicative of a worse condition and should be checked by your dental health care specialist right away. 

Some common causes of cold sensitivity are gum recession or thinning tooth enamel. When the root surface of the tooth is exposed due to gum recession it is not protected by the hard layer of enamel that the crown of our teeth are. This softer surface (called cementum) is full of microscopic tubules that send cold shocks (felt as pain) directly to the nerve of the tooth. Gum recession can be caused by poor oral hygiene or acute or chronic trauma to the teeth, such as clenching or grinding. Thinning of tooth enamel can be caused by wear and tear on the biting surfaces of the teeth or acid erosion. 

Management of dentinal hypersensitivity includes self-applied and professionally applied desensitizing agents. An example of a self-applied agent is a sensitivity toothpaste. Some popular brands are Sensodyne, Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief or Crest Pro-Health Sensitive & Enamel Shield Toothpaste. These toothpastes contain potassium nitrate and small doses of fluoride and should be used twice a day for at least two weeks for optimal results. These toothpastes are readily available at your local drugstore. A professional applied desensitizing agent is done in office by your Dental Hygienist and is a higher concentration of fluoride products. The most common application is a 5% sodium fluoride varnish. This application is quick, painless and effective! 

If you suffer from tooth sensitivity it is also important to monitor the amount of acidic and sugary fruits and beverages you consume. These foods may contribute to dentinal hypersentivity. It is also important to control the amount of plaque biofilm accumulating on your teeth by practicing effective oral hygiene (tooth brushing & flossing). 

Start with a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, but don't forget to visit your Dental Hygienist regularly to assess the cause of your cold sensitivity and determine if any other products might be right for you! 




By Chantal Duhaime 25 Apr, 2017
With the spring thaw comes the start of summer sports and leagues for children and adults of all ages. If you head to your neighbourhood park you will see people practicing lacrosse, football and soccer. Are you or your children one of these sports enthusiasts? 

A steady increase in the participation of adults and youth in organized sports has shown an increase in the number of sports related injuries. Injuries to the teeth and orofacial complex are some of the most common injuries reported.  These injuries usually require medical attention within two hours of occurrence for best outcome. 

Wearing a properly fitted sports guard can prevent concussion, injury to your teeth and jaw.

Injuries to your teeth include chips, fractures and complete loss (or avulsion).

The American Dental Association recommends wearing custom sports guards for the following sports: acrobats, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, and wrestling. Other experts include baseball and softball infielders on that list. 

Custom fit sports guards are made in-office by professionally trained dental personnel. The process involves a short appointment to take impressions (or molds) of the athletes teeth. We have several colours available to choose from to make the process fun!** Behind the scenes the molds are cast into stone, the models are trimmed and the sports guard material is heated and vacuum formed to ensure a tight fit. Next the sports guard is trimmed to make it comfortable for the athlete to wear and to breathe. Once all of that is done, the sports guard is given to the athlete with proper wear and care instructions to ensure the best protection!

It is important that the sports guards are worn during all practices, games and competitions!!

Growing athletes require their sports guards to be checked annually for fit and protection. If baby teeth have been lost and new teeth have started to grow in, a new sports guard may be required. If your sports guard is showing signs of wear and  tear it may be time to get it checked!

The Canadian Dental Association reports that over 200,000 sports injuries are prevented every year in Canada by utilizing sports guards.

Now that you know how important it is to protect your teeth, if you are starting a new sport and need an affordable custom sports guard let us know. Or, dust off that old sports guard and bring it in for us to assess it for you!

**Be sure to check with your sports team for rules and regulations regarding colour options for your sports guard. Some teams require specific colours are used or avoided to make it easier for referees to monitor compliance.

By Chantal Duhaime 20 Apr, 2017
Early Childhood Tooth Decay (ECTD) , also known as baby bottle carries or bottle rot, is a preventable condition that affects children from 0 to 3 years of age. ECTD is seen as one or more cavities (or dark spots) along the gum line of the top front teeth. The most common cause is prolonged use of a baby bottle containing milk, formula or sweetened juices.  The frequency and duration of the bottle drinking followed by poor oral hygiene routines can cause this condition to develop quickly and if left untreated can cause premature loss of baby teeth.

Baby teeth might not seem important, but our baby teeth are necessary for several reason: 
  • Proper eating and chewing to get the nutrition we need
  • Speech development
  • Creating/holding space for permanent teeth to erupt
  • Smiling! 
Some people think that baby teeth do not need to be checked because "they are going to fall out anyway". This is incorrect! Some baby teeth stay in the mouth until we are 10 to 12 years old. An untreated cavity could lead to infection and pain that could impact the adult teeth that are growing under the gums. 

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to assess if your baby is at risk for developing Early Childhood Tooth Decay:
  1. Does your baby sleep with anything other than water in their bottle?
  2. Do they snack frequently (more than 4 times per day)?
  3. Does your baby mainly drink water that is not fluoridated? (like bottled water or well water)
If you answered yes to any of these questions, don't worry, we can help! Bringing your child to a dental office to have their teeth checked regularly is the first step. If you've done that and are in the clear; here are some  healthier behaviours to prevent ECTD.

  1. You should try to limit the length of time and frequency of bottles with sweetened juices your baby has per day. 
  2. Your baby should only have water in their bottle during sleeping times.
  3. It is important to brush you baby's teeth twice per day (morning and night); just like your own! 
    • Avoid fluoridated toothpaste until your child is able to effectively spit it out. Children's toothpaste does not usually contain fluoride (and water is as effective to use) but when it doubt always read the label. 
  4. Bring your baby for regular checkups to ensure visible decay is not forming on their teeth.
Being educated and informed is an important part of keeping your baby's teeth healthy while they are developing. Good behaviours from a young age can ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth!

If you have any questions or would like a demonstration on proper oral hygiene and tooth brushing for your baby do not hesitate to let us know.

Prevention is key! 
By Chantal Duhaime 20 Apr, 2017
I have finally decided to take the plunge and add a blog to my site. I always wanted an easy way to share information with visitors and I’m super excited to start this journey. In our blog you will find information about your teeth (and how to keep them!), eating healthy and any other tips and tricks I think might be helpful to our community. Keep coming back to my site and check for updates right here on the blog.
Share by: